Sometimes the first season of a show is so perfect we don't need to know what happens next. Even if that taut handful of episodes doesn't tie off every single loose end, that's still better than returning to the scene of the crime for an inferior second serving that spoils the memory of what went before.
It makes sense – on paper – to revisit a show that's been a hit in its first season. And sometimes it does work. But more often than not, it would have been best for all concerned to quit while they were ahead.
These are the shows that should have ended with that one perfect season – fingers crossed we won't have to add the brilliant Big Little Lies to this list…
Spoiler alert – plot points revealed below. Only read if you know what happens in these shows already.
The most-tweeted about show of 2017 kept close to Jay Asher's original novel while successfully fleshing it out to 13 harrowing episodes. By the finale, we'd heard all of Hannah's 13 tapes and even seen her die, so while there were loose ends (did Alex shoot himself or did someone else do it?), we can safely assume that Clay is going to be okay, and that Hannah will get justice in the end.
Do we really need to know any more than that? While all the actors were superb, Hannah was the heart of the show, so how is it going to work now her story has played out, and how will the story go forward without the narrative drive of her tapes?
2. Prison Break
The clue is in the title – Prison Break is about Michael Scofield breaking his brother Lincoln out of Fox River State Pen, and by the final episode of season one, they had escaped. Job done.
Did we really need three more seasons of tattooed drama as Michael got sent to a Panama prison, escaped, thought love of his life Sara was dead, found out she wasn't, then supposedly died himself of a brain tumour?
No, we did not. And we didn't need this year's resurrection of the show (Michael is alive! Who cares?) either.
Broadchurch was must-see TV as detectives Miller and Hardy trudged the picturesque seaside streets investigating the murder of Danny Latimer. A crime, you will remember, that they had solved in the finale.
Of course, ITV wouldn't let it end there – "The end is where it begins" was their nonsensical tag line for series two – and we were sold an implausible follow-up that flipped between an old Hardy case we didn't care about and the aftermath of the previous year's revelation that Ellie's husband Joe was the killer.
If that wasn't bad enough, series two ended with Joe bloody getting away with it! We're sorry, but even the sharper final season can't ease the pain of that one. Series three was an improvement, but we'd have all been better with one and done.
Once Carrie Mathison discovered whether marine Nicholas Brody had been turned while captive in the Middle East (quick reminder – yes, he had), the air went out of Homeland's tyres.
By season two, Brody had found his inner good guy and helped Carrie solve some terrorism plots before he was hanged for his trouble, and for four seasons we got a 24 copy that was only worth watching for gruff Saul, monosyllabic Quinn and the Carrie drinking game (take a sip every time she's going to cry, two sips if she's pulling that face in the mirror).
Best of all, if Homeland had finished sooner we would never have had to sit through Carrie seducing baby-faced student Aayan in season four.
Why do we think there should only have been one season of True Detective? Short answer: season two.
All of the goodwill that built up during the first season – as Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson scorched TV screens with their portrayals of cops investigating a Louisiana serial killer – was lost during the tedious, rambling follow-up season.
Even the casting of Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams wasn't going to make us care about a real-estate development deal, a stream of unlikeable characters and a plot that you needed flow charts to decipher.
6. The OA
Actress/creator Brit Marling's drama series was possibly the best, and strangest, show on Netflix after Stranger Things. The story of Prairie (Marling), a young woman who reappears after having been missing for seven years, and how her weird tale absorbs the lives of four kids and a teacher, was both quirky and mysterious.
The finale raised as many questions as it answered. Who's the shooter? Was she lying? Is there another dimension? WTF have we just watched?
But it worked as a bizarre, head-scratching one-off drama. We're not meant to know the truth, and surely discovering what was real and what wasn't in season two will ruin all that bonkers oddness that went before.
7. The Fall
The first season of The Fall was a dark, taut drama. We, the viewers, knew that Jamie Dornan's Paul Spector was a serial killer, and we had to watch as the Belfast cops led by Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) figured it out.
The performances were superb, the action grisly and the plotting tense – and then they made season two. Dragging the cat-and-mouse plot out for 12 more episodes, it was peppered with ridiculous twists – Spector's amnesia in season three, his grooming of annoying Katie Benedetto, Stella holding a wounded Spector in her arms instead of rushing to the aid of fellow copper Tom – that we would never have witnessed had it ended after a year.
8. The Killing
While we could watch Sofie Gråbøl and her patterned jumpers forever, The Killing is another example of a show where the crime – the murder of 19-year-old Nanna Birk Larsen – was solved by the end of the first season.
After those 20 edge-of-the-sofa episodes (which each represented a day in the investigation), the two follow-up seasons (both 10 episodes each) featured new, less gripping crimes and were a let down, partly due to dumping one of the best parts of the show – exploring the emotional impact on the victim's family.
At least we got to see more of that Faroe Isle knitwear, though.
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